ABI Research says shipments of smartphones costing under $250 (£164) will increase from 259 million this year to 788 million in 2018. That’s an increase in smartphone market share from 28% in 2012 to 46% by 2018.
Worldwide shipments of higher-priced devices are expected to grow from 635 million to 925 million over the same five-year period.
The main driver of the growth in lower-cost smartphones will be sales in pre-paid and emerging markets, although these devices are also proving popular with consumers upgrading from feature phones in developed markets… and with network operators looking to increase data revenue from these consumers.
Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI Research, said “As smartphone penetration moves from early adopters to mass-market and laggard consumer segments, the smartphone as a product will be less dependent on technical superiority, and more dependent on reliability and value.”
[ABI Research Mobile Handset Markets database]